Investing in a Property Sight Unseen: What You Need to Know - Article Banner

Florida’s real estate market is attracting a lot of attention. Not only are local investors eagerly expanding their portfolios and acquiring new rental properties, but buyers from outside of the state and even outside of the country are also looking at investment opportunities here. 

More and more people are buying properties without seeing them. 

This is a fairly new phenomenon that has grown in popularity over the last few years. When we first began investing in real estate, we would not have dreamed of paying all that money for a property that we had not seen at least one time.  

Things have changed dramatically, and mostly thanks to technology. 

It’s possible, now, to buy sight unseen, and it’s a practice that investors are becoming more and more comfortable with. This isn’t for everyone; you have to have a good idea of what exactly you’re looking for, and you have to put together a local team in the area where you’re buying in order to make it work. You also need to be comfortable with technology and you need to be willing to take on a bit of risk. 

Because it’s still risky, even with video tours, local data analytics, and a good real estate agent. 

Sometimes, investing sight unseen is preferable to investors who are trying to save time and money. You can save yourself a lot of travel resources by conducting the entire business deal virtually. 

Here’s what you need to know about investing in a property sight unseen.

Why is Investing Sight Unseen Even Possible?

We also call this remote investing, and while some serious due diligence is required, it’s actually not as risky as it once was. Everyone is naturally suspicious these days of being scammed or misled, but if you’re working with people you trust, and you’re able to review all the necessary documentation before you close the deal, you’re in good shape. With all the checking and cross-checking that can be done today, it would be very hard to get away with selling someone a property that doesn’t exist or doesn’t actually belong to the seller.

Real estate agents, property managers, and investors are working with innovative technology and an ever-evolving network of online tools and platforms. This enables investors from afar to view listings, take virtual tours, make offers, negotiate details, and transfer funds without being in the same room or even the same state as the seller. 

You’ll need a strong understanding of your own investment goals before you invest sight unseen. Know why you’re choosing a particular market

Choosing a Local Property Management Partner

When buying an investment property sight unseen, you first must partner with a local expert. 

You need an experienced Realtor who can help you navigate the sales process, and even more importantly, you’ll need a local property manager who can talk to you about rental values, maintenance costs, and the likelihood that a particular property will be attractive to high-quality tenants.  

Ideally, you’ll partner with a local expert who does both real estate and property management. This will keep your process more efficient, less crowded, and mostly under one roof.

Lean on your professional partners to help you identify the right investment property and negotiate a deal. You’ll need help with closing and negotiating terms and price. Expect to have a virtual tour and a lot of meetings over FaceTime or Zoom. 

A local property manager can take you through the entire investment cycle no matter where you happen to be. We’ll help you identify an opportunity, establish a rental value, find a tenant, and execute a lease agreement. 

By investing remotely, you’ll want local experts who understand the market and can leverage marketing, screening, and maintenance services.  

Your real estate and property management partner can represent you in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Brandon, Riverview, or wherever you’re buying your property sight unseen. If you’re in our market, we’d welcome the opportunity to show you how we can help.

At Hoffman Realty, we are constantly monitoring the local sales and rental markets. As an investor who is buying sight unseen, you’ll want access to the data we’re gathering because it will help you understand what you’re really buying. 

Moving from Investing Sight Unseen to Managing Sight Unseen

If you’re buying a property sight unseen, chances are you’ll also be leasing and managing that property from afar. 

It won’t be too difficult when you already have a local property manager in place. 

Here’s what you can expect: 

  • Efficient marketing, screening, and leasing. You’ll want an investment property to be occupied quickly so you’re not dealing with vacancy. Screening is important for peace of mind; you want to know your tenant will pay rent on time and take care of the property.
  • Responsiveness when there are maintenance emergencies. A good property manager will be on call 24 hours a day and seven days a week. There’s not much you can do remotely when an emergency repair need is required, especially if you’ve never been inside the property yourself.  
  • On-time rent collection every month. Your property manager should have online rent collection capabilities.  
  • Lower turnovers and higher tenant retention thanks to good tenant relationships. 

A local property management partner will understand the requirements of your portfolio and develop a good relationship with your tenants.  

Invest in Local Market Knowledge 

Understanding Real Estate MarketUnderstanding the local market, its rental values, its home prices, and the market competition is important due diligence for any investor, whether you’re here or investing without seeing the property. 

Your local partners can talk to you about the data around population growth and unemployment and its impact on the tenant pool. 

We’re evaluating rental values every day. We’re looking at the properties coming onto the market, we’re considering the updates and improvements that owners are making, and we’re measuring the competition.

Your best property management partner will share all of that knowledge with you before you buy. You don’t need to feel like you’re investing sight unseen, even if you are. That’s because we’re seeing the property for you, and we’re making sure you have all the information that we have. 

If you’re ready to invest in a piece of real estate but you have no plans to come to Florida yourself, contact us at Hoffman Realty. We can make the entire process more profitable and less risky for you.